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Gradiaz, Annis & Co.
Ybor City

 
Gonzalez Mora & Co. was organized in 1890 in Chicago.  They moved to Tampa in 1894 and at one point in time changed their name to Gonzalez, Fisher & Co.  This 51,569 square feet cigar factory building at 2311 18th Street was built by Gonzalez, Fisher & Co. in 1908 to replace a previous one built in 1901 damaged in the 1908 fire that swept through Ybor City.  It is best Known as the Gradiaz, Annis & Co. factory building as they were their longest tenant while used as a cigar factory.  

Gradiaz, Annis & Co. moved to the West Tampa factory previously occupied by the Samuel I. Davis Co.  in 1929 when they relocated their cigar factory from New York City.  In 1933 Gradiaz, Annis Co. moved to the Berriman Bros, factory building in Ybor City.  On December 31, 1935 Gradiaz, Annis Co. merged with the Schwab-Davis Co., the new company retained the Gradiaz, Annis name.  In 1961 Gradiaz, Annis & Co. purchased the Morgan Cigar Co. and in 1964 it was itself absorbed by the General Cigar Co. and operated until 1976.  

Over the years, this factory building housed different cigar manufacturing companies and often housed two companies at a time. 
 
  • In 1908 Gonzalez, Mora & Co. was sole occupant.
  • In 1910 the Berriman Bros. Cigar Co. moved from West Tampa to the western half of this facility, while Gonzalez, Mora & Co. moved into the eastern half. 
  • In 1916 Gonzalez, Mora & Co. relocated to West Tampa and from 1916 to 1921 the Berriman Bros. was listed as the sole occupant.
  • In 1922 Marcelino Perez & Co. moved in to the Eastern portion of the building and shared the facility with  Berriman Bros. until 1929.
  • In 1929, Wengler & Mandell Cigar Co. acquired Berriman Bros. Cigar Co.  and in  remained in the Western portion of the building.  In January 1934 Gradiaz, Annis & Co. acquired Wengler & Mandell and moved its operations here from the Balbin Bros.  building in West Tampa and continued to occupy the Western portion of the building until 1963 when it was acquired by the General Cigar Co.  The General Cigar Co. stayed at this facility until 1976 when it relocated to Kingston, PA.  
  • In 1930 Villazón & Co. temporarily occupied the Eastern portion vacated by Marcelino Perez & Co. 
  • From 1931 to 1942 Sanchez & Haya Co. occupied the Eastern portion of the building vacated by Vallazón & Co.
  • Diaz-Havana Co. occupied the Eastern portion from 1946 to 1964. 
  • In 1976 the factory was purchased by the U-Haul Co. of Florida 905 LLC who currently occupies the facilities for rental and storage.
 
In 1867 in New York City, Sanchez & Haya Cigar Co. was founded by Spaniards Serafin Sanchez, a native of Villavisiosa in Asturias and Ignacio Haya, a native of Santander.  It was the first factory to roll a cigar in Ybor City on April 13, 1886 exactly two months before Vicente Martinez Ybor could open his factory.  According to the August 10, 1922 edition of the Tobacco publication , the Sanchez & Haya Cigar Factory No. 1 located at 1502 7th Ave. at the corner with 15th Street, was demolished in 1922 to make room for the new Ybor City Post Office built by the Sanchez & Haya Real Estate Co.  From Factory No.1, Sanchez & Haya Co. moved in 1911 to brand new facilities at 17th Street and 14th Avenue.  This factory building was expropriated and demolished for the construction of I-4.  Throughout the years, Sanchez & Haya Cigar Co. occupied several factory buildings before being dissolved ca. 1950.  Wengler & Mandell then acquired from Sanchez & Haya the Gold Label brand established in 1867 and the Sakespeare brand established in 1872.
 
One of the partners of Gradiaz-Annis was Julius B. (Bunny) Annis (1890-1964), a Hungarian immigrant who in the early 1900s became affiliated with "Sanchez & Haya" in New York City beginning as a "drummer", or cigar salesman, who traveled from coast to coast selling to Tobacconist and cigar merchants.  His son, Morton Annis (1917-1979), was President of Gradiaz, Annis & Co. when General Cigar acquired it.  Morton Annis revolutionized the packaging of cigars with innovations in wood, leather and ceramic containers.  He also created colorful holiday packaging for Gold Label and other General Cigar brands.